City’s jazz the place to be

Lancaster Jazz Festival celebrates its fifth birthday in the city this weekend with a programme of music described as “truly original and exciting”.


“Jazz lives here in Lancaster” according to last year’s jazz festival headline artist Courtney Pine, and it will certainly be taking residence across the city from tonight, with eight venues showcasing the very best of the genre and all its subsidiaries.

Artist in residence for 2015 is Seth Bennett “possibly the most original British double bassist in a generation” according to festival organisers Matt Robinson and Dave Shooter.

Seth will be performing with Leo Gayer at 11.30am on Saturday, September 19, at The Hall in China Street, and again at the same venue with En Bas Quartet at 3.15pm.

Later he’ll take part in a jam session from 10.30pm at The Golden Lion.

He’ll appear again on Sunday, September 20 at 3.45pm with Word of Moth at The Hall.

Tonight, Lancaster Brewery hosts three acts, kicked off at 7.45pm by the LRGS Big Band.

A major feed for the county big bands, many alumni go on to professional careers in the music business.

At 9pm, the genre defying and music festival favourites A Dread Supreme take to the stage with reeds, flute, melodica, percussion, vocals, guitar, Hammond and synths, bass and drums for what promises to be an electrifying show.

Turning Coltrane into 70s Jamaican roots, re-imagining the 60s protest songs of Bill Wilson for the 21st century.

On Saturday night, The Dukes hosts headline act Empirical, dubbed by the Daily Telegraph as “the coolest of Britain’s young jazz acts”, known for producing forward looking, risk taking and creative music.

They have enjoyed incredible success over the past few years, having won the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act in 2010 followed by an international touring career.

Made up of Nathaniel Facey (saxophone), Lewis Wright (vibraphone), Tom Farmer (double bass) and Shaney Forbes (drums), they are considered one of the most highly-acclaimed jazz outfits in the UK and release their fifth studio album this autumn.

There are so many other acts over the weekend, with plenty of activity in Sun Square, too, the event’s hub.

For a full list of acts and further details, visit